Death and Dreams

Written by Tayria Ward on July 29, 2010

I remember very clearly working a dream with my analyst when I lived in Los Angeles. In it I had walked up to a person in the dream and just shot him in the head (not someone I knew in real life). I sheepishly confessed the dream, thinking it was some kind of murderous violence latent in me that we’d have to discover together. It was simple and clear to her, and made enormous sense when she talked me through it. The character in the dream represented an attitude that no longer served me. She called my shooting him in the head “efficient.” A clean way of discarding a no longer useful or helpful attitude. Oh. I got it. Death in dreams, and the Death card in the Tarot I have since come to discover through my work with it, are very different from how we think about and experience death in waking life.

Today I worked with my current dream analyst on another shooting in the head dream. Even though I should know better, I was fretting about the dream. But he saw the beauty of it very quickly. It represented an old idea, part of a collective concept of how things “should” go, that I was just getting rid of. In the dream it was “me” who was being shot, and I was saying the word “God” as I was being murdered. I have always remembered that Gandhi said that word as his assassin approached him with the gun so that he could die with the word God on his lips. My dream analyst helped me to see that what was dying needed to go to “God”, an old concept no longer serving me. Whew.

Maybe all death is really like death in dreams and tarot. A good thing. My little dog seems to be facing death and I’m often terrified. I don’t want to let go of anyone I love dearly. Reworking the whole concept right now might be a good thing.